Australia’s Energy Transition
Australia’s energy sector is undergoing a period of massive transition. To reach the nominal goal of having an energy sector with net-zero emissions by 2050, the sector is being decarbonised, distributed, digitised and democratised. However, the three limbs of energy policy – price, reliability and emissions – still remain challenges. Many aspects of these challenges are unique to Australia, and are a product of our economy, resource endowment, geography and our social and political structures.
While there is a significant volume of research currently underway related to the energy transition, additional, more multidisciplinary and better-focused research is needed to ensure that the Australian transition is successful. Broad definitions of both ‘energy’ and ‘research’ are intended.
Australian Energy Transition Research Plan
The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) is undertaking a scoping study that will consult with a broad range of stakeholders from across Australia’s energy sector to inform the development and design of an Australian Energy Transition Research Plan (the Research Plan).
The high-level objective of the Research Plan is to support a successful transition of the Australian energy sector to net zero emissions, where success encompasses both economic efficiency and social equity dimensions. Specifically, ACOLA aims to:
- identify and promote the research priorities that will be critical for a successful Australian energy transition (from basic research through to translation)
- identify the current and future gaps in Australian energy research to ascertain what needs to be done, and any immediate priorities
- consider if the research being undertaken is sufficient in scale, easily translated and well targeted to make the energy transition as efficient, fair and smooth as possible
- influence the direction, allocation and quantum of research funding in Australia
- be independent of the policies and programs of the governments of the day, as these too will evolve and will always be part of the context.
It is envisaged that the Research Plan will be a long-term project to initially set, and then continuously monitor and update research priorities and outcomes, from basic research through to development and translation.
To determine what a Research Plan of this dimension will look like, how it will be governed, how the research priorities will be determined over time, and how the process of undertaking the Research Plan will be funded, ACOLA is seeking input, advice and new ideas from a broad range of stakeholders, including energy research bodies, energy funding agencies, energy market and consumer bodies, energy users and consumers, energy (and related) industry associations, government policy departments, labour and social agencies, and Australia’s learned academies.
A Design Issues Paper has been developed to generate conversation around the key issues in developing and implementing a Plan. ACOLA welcomes input on the issues paper, with responses due 11 May 2020.
ACOLA, for its established ability to deliver interdisciplinary evidence-based research that draws on specialist expertise from Australia’s Learned Academies, convened the Australian energy transition research project steering committee to guide the development of a targeted study that draws input from several disciplines to create a well-considered, balanced and peer-reviewed report. The role of the steering committee is to provide strategic oversight and expert input, analysis and provocative thinking.
|Mr Drew Clarke AO PSM FTSE
|Professor Kenneth Baldwin FAIP FlnstP FOSA FAPS|
|Professor Bruce Godfrey FTSE||Emeritus Professor Sue Richardson FASSA|
|Professor Libby Robin FAHA||Professor Fran Baum AO FAHMS AAS|
|Mr Ryan Winn||Dr Lauren Palmer|
|Dr Fern Beavis|
For further information or any queries about the project, please contact:
Dr Fern Beavis, Senior Research and Policy Officer
(03) 9864 0938
Acknowledgement of Country
ACOLA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands on which our company is located and where we conduct our business. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.